Tighter laws urged after family’s fireworks terror

Steve Cardownie has called for restrictions to boost organised displays
Steve Cardownie has called for restrictions to boost organised displays
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Demands have been made to bring in tighter legislation on the sale of fireworks after a family’s lives were put at risk by reckless youths.

Deputy council leader Steve Cardownie called for increased restrictions on the sale of fireworks as part of efforts to encourage families to attend safer, organised displays.

On Wednesday morning, a family in West Pilton were woken up in the early hours by firefighters after a blaze – sparked by a firework – broke out in the garage.

A group of youths, believed to have been aged 14 or 15, had pushed a firework into the property.

On the same night, police received numerous calls from terrified residents in West Pilton reporting that fireworks were being recklessly set off.

Cllr Cardownie, who described the incident as “outrageous”, said: “Restrictions on the use of fireworks and further legislation or prohibition is something that could be looked at.

“The fire service themselves say every year they are having to deal with so many injuries.

“We need a campaign to encourage shopkeepers and bigger stores not to sell them.

“It’s a bit difficult when you have six or seven youths coming in wanting to buy them – if they didn’t sell them at all that would take the pressure off them.”

Mr Cardownie added he would like to see more community groups encouraged to set up organised displays.

He added: “It shouldn’t be as easy to buy them. People should be encouraged to organise firework events for their fun.

“Certainly what happened in West Pilton is a clear indication as to how dangerous fireworks can be in the wrong hands.

“That’s one of the reasons I’m keen on Edinburgh’s official fireworks display, which hundreds of people can come along to watch in safety.”

Under Scottish legislation, it is illegal for anyone under 18 to be in possession of an adult firework in a public place.

Retailers have to actively check a customer’s age if there is any doubt they are under 18.

Police board convener Iain Whyte said: “I know in the past, the council has carried out test purchasing over the sale of fireworks to underage people and taken steps against some retailers who broke the rules.

“You do get the impression it’s something that needs to be cracked down on.

“The existing legislation needs to be enforced.

“I would suggest that some more checking retails needs to be carried out.

“If any retailers are found to be selling to underagers, I would hope colleagues on the Licensing Board would take that very seriously.”

Mike Bridgman, convener of the Fire and Rescue Service Board, said he also believed retailers needed to take more care over sales.

“The incident in West Pilton was horrific and was obviously quite concerning for the family,” he said.

“I’m quite surprised that the fireworks are being sold in the shops this early in the year.

“Just like with alcohol and cigarettes, fireworks are still being sold to people underage, even thought it is against the law. Retailers should be taking more responsibility.”